Volatile market conditions have resulted in increased interest in demand management technology, which is designed to collaboratively forecast and shape customer demand through promotions and pricing strategies. To help companies like retail, CPG, and manufacturing firms select the best demand management solution for their needs, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) introduces Demand Management TechRankings, the 11th category in Forrester’s TechRankings research of enterprise software markets.
For this TechRankings category, Forrester defines continuous demand management as an iterative, technology-assisted process to reduce demand variability and optimize profit. Forrester invited all major vendors to participate in the scenario-based product testing and evaluation process. Six vendors have participated as of June 2003:
- Demantra with its Spectrum Suite V.6.0 product.
- i2 with its Demand Manager and Revenue and Profit Optimization Solutions product.
- J.D. Edwards with its Demand Planning 4.0, Demand Forecasting 1.1, and Demand Consensus 2.1 products.
- Logility with its Voyager Solutions 6.5 product.
- Manugistics with its NetWORKS Solutions 7.1 product.
- Prescient Systems with its Prescient 5 product.
Forrester invited SAP to participate, but it declined testing at this time.
“Manufacturers and retailers like Gap and Best Buy that have products with short life cycles or seesaw demand need to tie forecasting to inventory and pricing strategies so they can lower inventory costs and optimize revenue,” said Sharyn Leaver, senior analyst at Forrester. “Although no single vendor can meet all continuous demand management criteria today, firms should decide which revenue optimization tactics matter most and identify key factors that should drive demand forecasts to determine which vendor is the best fit.”
How To Evaluate Demand Management Software
Forrester expects spending on continuous demand management to grow at a 33 percent CAGR during the next several years. This will provide ample opportunity for vendors from various backgrounds, such as supply chain, retail, and ERP, to expand their product lines to support the complete demand management process.
Forrester recommends that prospective buyers look for products that provide collaborative demand-planning tools and demand-shaping features, in addition to a flexible process architecture. For this TechRankings evaluation, Forrester examined products against more than 300 detailed criteria and identified seven key attributes that buyers should also consider when assessing demand management systems.
- Product and portfolio management. How well does the product manage product information and portfolios?
- Demand forecasting. How strong are the product’s capabilities for the demand-planning process?
- Revenue optimization. How well does the product support pricing and merchandising techniques to optimize revenue?
- Supply chain integration. How integrated are the product’s demand management features with the supply chain?
- Product architecture. How robust is the product’s runtime integration environment in terms of high performance, reliability, and scalability? What measures have been taken to localize the product for multiple regions?
- Vendor strength. Is the vendor here to stay? What are its relevant partnerships, customer base, dedicated staff, and financials? When considering product support (channels, personnel, hours), how well does the vendor support its customers for the product we rank?
- Cost. What are the cost factors, such as licensing, maintenance, and support pricing?
In related research Forrester’s new June report “Helping Supply Chain Cope With Demand” examines how manufacturers enhance marginally effective apps with smarter composite processes that integrate sales, marketing, and supply chain — allowing firms to quickly share and act on changes in demand. To make the most out of these composite processes, Forrester suggests that manufacturers prioritize and pilot them according to profiles of the products they sell.
Launched in October 2000, TechRankings evaluates more than 70 enterprise software products through rigorous hands-on scenario-based product testing, in-depth research, and objective analysis of global vendor offerings. Since every demand management software implementation is unique, TechRankings lets clients use online tools to customize the research — and product evaluation rankings — to focus on the most important criteria and vendors.
Forrester invites all important vendors, based on their product fit and momentum, to participate. Forrester does not charge vendors in any way to participate in TechRankings. Forrester extensively checks and verifies results.
Forrester offers TechRankings research, analysis, and selection services in 11 software technology markets: application servers, business intelligence, business process management, commerce platforms, content management, customer service applications, demand management, enterprise portal servers, eProcurement applications, integration servers, and marketing automation applications. Forrester will continue to add important vendor evaluations and update the existing categories to reflect buyers’ evolving needs, in addition to adding new categories of software for evaluation.
The research mentioned in this press release is available to Forrester WholeView¿ clients and can be found through www.forrester.com.